After a two-week hiatus, the Seahawks get another name in NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2013.
When players No. 30-21 are unveiled at 5 p.m. PT on Thursday on NFL Network, a sixth Seattleite will join the likes of center Max Unger (No. 95), wide receiver Percy Harvin (No. 90), free safety Earl Thomas (No. 66), quarterback Russell Wilson (No. 51), and cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 50).
Unfortunately, we can’t tell you who that player is just yet. But with the field shrinking by the week, it makes it a little bit easier to pinpoint the remaining Seahawks on the list. All-Pro/Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch is the first that comes to mind, but I could also see Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung earning a mention.
Tune in to NFL Network tomorrow to find out who it is and we’ll have the announcement for you here as soon as it drops.
Quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch are two of four players featured in EA Sports’ Madden NFL 25 official gameplay trailer, a title set to be released on Xbox One and Playstation 4 this fall.
Wilson and Lynch are highlighted alongside 2012’s NFL MVP Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings and 2012’s AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins. It’s pretty good company for the pair of Pro Bowl Seahawks who were the backbone of Seattle’s offense last season. In the trailer, Lynch and Wilson are showcased in several sequences of virtual footage at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field.
The NFL quad of Lynch, Wilson, Peterson and Griffin are clearly the focal point of this video, but it’s former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders who will don the game’s cover, after garnering more than 40 million total votes throughout Madden 25’s “old school” vs. “new school” cover-hopeful campaign. Sanders beat out Peterson in the championship round of voting.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 11, as the Seahawks kicked off a mandatory three-day minicamp that will conclude their offseason program:
FOCUS ON: MICHAEL BROOKS
After the rookie defensive tackle was claimed off waivers on May 29 and practiced with the Seahawks for the first time a few days later, Brooks admitted, “I’m just trying to learn my way around right now and get with this new system.”
The 6-foot-3, 299-pound Brooks apparently is a fast learner. In today’s practice, he tipped a pass incomplete and then penetrated to get a “sack” – on back-to-back plays. It was that talent and versatility that first attracted the Seahawks, who tried to sign Brooks after the NFL Draft in April. He opted for the Lions, but the Seahawks got another chance to acquire Brooks after he was waived.
“We saw some things we liked about him on tape and Michael certainly has come in here and tried to learn the system quickly,” first-year defensive line coach Travis Jones said after practice – which was held under sunny skies but also in a brisk breeze along the shores of Lake Washington.
And, like most of the linemen, Brooks is learning more than one position. He’s playing the three-technique tackle spot as well as the five-technique end position.
“Everybody’s got different positions to learn,” Jones said. “You’ve got to try to find a way to get on this team, and the best way to do that is to learn a couple of different positions.”
And it doesn’t hurt when you’re making multiple plays from those multiple positions.
PLAYER WATCH: CHRIS CLEMONS
The team’s sack leader the past three seasons was on hand for the start of the mandatory minicamp, but Clemons is continuing his rehab from surgery after tearing a ligament and meniscus in his left knee during the wild-card playoff victory over the Redskins in January.
“It’s good to get Clem back in, even though he can’t work,” Carroll said.
Clemons, who was acquired in a 2010 trade with the Eagles, has posted 11, 11 and 11.5 sacks in his first three seasons with the Seahawks.
“The doctors say he’s in great shape,” Carroll said. “He’s ahead (of schedule). He’s worked diligently to get there. Is he going to make it back by the first game? I don’t know. He has a chance. And if it can happen, he’ll make it happen.
“But like I said the whole time, we will not rush that. We’re going to take our time on that and make sure he’s right. The doctors are greatly confident. He is also.”
Even if he’s not practicing, Clemons provides a plus.
“Clem, he’s a great leader on this team. He’s tough as nails and really stands for something in this locker room,” Carroll said. “So to have him around is important.”
POSITION WATCH: TIGHT END
With starter Zach Miller sitting out to rest a sore left foot, it allowed second-year tight end Sean McGrath and rookie Luke Willson to work with the No. 1 offense – snaps that will prove invaluable as they continue to develop in the offense.
“It does give the other guys a chance to step up and get some good focus work,” Carroll said. “It’s really good for Luke and Sean McGrath is getting extra turns. So it’s a good deal.”
While Willson was selected in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft, McGrath spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad after being signed as a rookie free agent last year.
“Sean is stronger. He’s quicker,” said Carroll, pointing out that McGrath has added almost 10 pounds. “He just looks great. He always could catch the football really well. Now he knows what he’s doing and he’s become just a regular part of it. He’s in the rotation right now.”
ANOTHER TOP 100 PLAYER
A sixth Seahawk will be included among the players ranked 21-30 in the NFL Network’s continuing countdown of the Top 100 Players for 2013. The latest group will be unveiled starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
As usual, we can’t tell you who it is. But All-Pro center Max Unger (No. 95), receiver/returner/running Percy Harvin (No. 90), All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas (No. 66), Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson (No. 51) and All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 50) are the Seahawks previously included. That leaves a very-prominent name still out there – All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch.
A WISH COME TRUE, AND THEN SOME
The club hosted Make-A-Wish recipient Kevin Lee today. Needless to say, it was an over-the-top experience for the 12-year old from Farmington Hills, Mich., who has had four open-heart surgeries.
We can’t share more details at this time because the event was videotaped by a crew from ESPN and will be included in the network’s Eighth Annual My Wish series that is scheduled to air the week of Aug. 18.
The players will practice again on Wednesday afternoon and then wrap up the three-day minicamp with a morning practice on Thursday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“You saw him. He was killing it today in practice. He’s just a very, very talented football player – very fast; very, very quick. He’s a very smart football player. He has the mind of quarterback. He thinks all the time. He’s thinking about what’s going on. What the coverage looks like and how he’s matched up with certain guys. So that helps.” – quarterback Russell Wilson on third-year slot receiver Doug Baldwin, who was played through injuries most of last season after leading the team in receptions as a rookie free agent in 2011
Wednesday in Hawkville: Brandon Mebane reverts to baseball-playing days to make one big interception
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 5, when the Seahawks put the wraps on the on-field activities in the OTA portion of their offseason program:
FOCUS ON: BRANDON MEBANE
Pete Carroll stopped short of announcing the move of 311-pound nose tackle to extra-strong strong safety, but the Seahawks’ coach was duly impressed with the interception Mebane made during today’s OTA.
“The return was not that good,” Carroll cracked. “But the pick was nice.”
For Mebane, it was his second interception this week as he also had one on Monday. But today’s pick – which came off a pass that was tipped by middle linebacker Bobby Wagner – allowed him to display the full array of his athletic skills.
“I just saw the ball go up and my eyes got real big,” Mebane said. “I was like, ‘Just like baseball. Just catch it.’ ”
Baseball? Mebane played third base, catcher, second base and centerfield while growing up. That was before he grew into a nose tackle.
“That was just like a pop fly,” he said of the batted Brady Quinn pass he intercepted.
But Mebane’s second pick also was a testament to the work he has been putting in. The D-lineman began today’s OTA with a drill where coordinator Dan Quinn had them drop, turn and catch the ball as he threw it. Mebane displayed cat-like quickness in grabbing his.
PLAYER WATCH: MARSHAWN LYNCH
The All-Pro running back participated in today’s session, Lynch’s first OTA appearance this week. He looked quick and explosive while getting carries with the No. 1 and even No. 3 units.
“He had a nice day today. He got a little running room,” Carroll said. “He’s in really good shape. We’re trying to get him all the way through this offseason and get him ready for the real season. We know what Marshawn can do as long as he’s in good shape, and he’s in fantastic shape. He’s hard as a rock and he’s worked really hard to this point.
“It’s really just take the next step, the next step. Get him through minicamp. Then get him through the summertime. Then show up for camp and get him through the preseason. So that he’s right and ready to go. There’s so much (tread) on the tire and we don’t want to wear down that.”
The Seahawks ran the ball a league-high 536 times last season, and Lynch used his career-high 315 carries to produce 1,590 rushing yards and average 5.0 yards – also a career-bests.
POSITION WATCH: RIGHT TACKLE
Rookie Michael Bowie continued to work with the No. 1 line because, as Carroll explained, starter Breno Giacomini has been in New York to have a knee that’s been bothering him checked out.
The news is good on both fronts: Giacomini will not need surgery, and the reps Bowie got with the first unit in his absence were invaluable for the seventh-round draft choice.
“He could have practice this week, but we wanted to take this time to make sure that we were doing the right thing,” Carroll said of Giacomini. “So he’s in good shape and that’s a really positive report for us.”
On Bowie, he added, “Michael got a great chance to show and it was cool to have him with the first group out there. He handled himself well. It’s a good initial statement that he’s made that he looks like he can fit in. He’s got a lot of ground to make up, but we’re very pleased with him.”
ALUMNI WATCH: CURT WARNER
Three generations of Seahawks running backs were on the field before the start of practice, as Warner had a sideline conversation with Lynch and Sherman Smith, the team’s original running back who now coaches the position.
Smith led the team in rushing from 1976-79 and again in 1982. Warner, the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 1983, ran for 6,705 yards in six seasons, including 1,481 in 1986 and 1,449 as a rookie. Lynch has been the team’s leading rusher the past three seasons.
Also at practice was Edward Drummond, a retired Lt. Col. and the youngest of the Tuskegee Airman. He had his picture taken with Carroll and several players after practice.
Drummond, 86, was accompanied by his wife and eight students from Pacific West Aerospace Academy.
The players will work out on Thursday, but they won’t have their scheduled on-field session.
Friday, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman will sign autographs from noon to 1 p.m. as part of the weekend-long grand re-opening of the Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field. Quarterback Russell Wilson and team president Peter McLoughlin will handle the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m.
Next week, the team’s mandatory minicamp will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with an afternoon practice each day.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Walter is physically capable of showing off. He is a tremendous athlete. He has been in a situation where he’s kind of had to hold back a little bit for a long time. He’s really able to just go for it now.” – Carroll on oft-injured cornerback Walter Thurmond, who we profiled in this story on Monday
The Browns’ selection of Barkevious Mingo with the sixth pick overall in last month’s NFL Draft has prompted the folks at NFL.com to compile a photo gallery of the NFL’s all-time all-name team.
The fullback is Mack Strong, the former Seahawk whose parents must have known he was destined to block for three 1,000-yard rushers during his 15-season stay in Seattle.
Writes Jim Reineking: “This is the perfect confluence of first name and surname. In 15 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Strong was a lead blocker for three different 1,000-yard rushers (Chris Warren, Ricky Watters and Shaun Alexander). His 32-yard touchdown run in a 2005 divisional playoff game was a team record until Marshawn Lynch went on his famous ‘Beast Mode’ run (in a 2010 wild-card game) that set off a seismic event.”
But Strong was more than just a lead blocker. Only Joe Nash (218) has played in more games for the Seahawks than Strong (201) – and both made the team as rookie free agents; Nash in 1982 and Strong in 1993 (he spent his rookie season on the practice squad). No one won the Steve Largent Award more than times than Strong (five). He also was voted to two Pro Bowls, selected All-Pro in 2005 and named to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team.
Also on the all-time all-name team: offensive lineman Floyd “Pork Chop” Womack, who played with the Seahawks from 2001-08; long snapper Trey Junkin, who was with the Seahawks from 1990-95; and safety Atari Bigby, who spent the 2010 season with the Seahawks.
As for Mingo’s first name, at the NFL Scouting Combine he explained it this way: “My mom just kind of threw it together and wrote it on my birth certificate.”
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 28, when the Seahawks had an OTA session that was open to the media:
Percy Harvin. So, what do you get a player who seemingly has everything for his 25th birthday?
How about a 57-yard touchdown reception? That’s what quarterback Russell Wilson came up with during today’s OTA session, and it was just one of four receptions for Harvin during the final team period that slapped an exclamation point on the workout.
Harvin was acquired in a trade with the Vikings in March because he was proficient and productive as a receiver, returner and runner the past four seasons with the Vikings. But today, on his birthday, the spotlight was on Harvin’s receiving skills.
On the second play of the team period, Harvin got behind Brandon Browner, a 6-foot-4 cornerback who is as physical as he is tall, to take Wilson’s pass along the sideline and run it into the end zone. A few snaps later, it was Wilson to Harvin on a crossing pattern. Then, Harvin made a nice grab of a pass from backup QB Brady Quinn as he was racing across the field toward the sideline. Finally, it was Quinn to Harvin to round out the day.
Four routes, four receptions; one big reason why the Seahawks deemed Harvin worth the three draft choices they gave up to acquire him.
None of this should come as a surprise, because last year Harvin tied for first in the NFL with no dropped passes on 82 targets before being sidelined for the final seven games with a torn ligament in his ankle. In fact, according to the statistics provided by ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando, the Seahawks have three players who ranked among the top 20 in that category last season: Harvin at No. 1; wide receiver Sidney Rice, another ex-Viking, who had one drop on 78 targets to rank No. 9; and tight end Zach Miller, who had one drop on 49 targets to rank No. 16.
Marshawn Lynch. The team’s leading rusher the past three seasons was back after missing last week’s OTAs. Today, Lynch didn’t miss a beat – or an assignment, or a hole – while displaying the explosive quickness and power that helped him rush for a career-high 1,590 yards last season.
Linebackers. It was difficult not to watch assistant coach Ken Norton’s crew during the session was featured rain, wind and even a sun break or two along the shores of Lake Washington.
Outside linebackers K.J. Wright and Kyle Knox intercepted passes in the 7-on-7 drill, when cornerback Byron Maxwell added a third. During the final team period, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner slapped away a pass that was intended for Miller, while outside linebacker Malcolm Smith made a last-second tip of a pass that was almost in the hands of rookie tight end Luke Willson.
ANTHONY McCOY WAIVED/INJURED; JAKE BSCHERER SIGNED
In a procedural move, tight end Anthony McCoy was waived/injured today. When he clears waivers, McCoy will revert back to injured reserve. McCoy tore his right Achilles tendon during an OTA session last Monday and had surgery on Thursday.
Jake Bscherer, one of three dozen players who attended the May 10-12 rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, was signed. The 6-foot-6, 305-pound tackle played at Minnesota-Duluth.
The players also have OTA sessions on Wednesday and Friday, which are not open to the media. Next week, they have OTAs on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“They’re very serious. And I think they’re hungry. They’re very hungry. The way these guys work in the weight room or running inside. You can see them compete in practice. Yeah, they’re ready to go.” – Antoine Winfield, the team’s new nickel back, when asked about the other starters in the secondary: cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Browner and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor
Pete Prisco has his annual list of the Top 100 players in the NFL at CBSSports.com, and guess who checks in at No. 9?
It’s Richard Sherman, the Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback. Says Prisco, “He is cocky, brash and plays with a nasty edge. Oh, he can also cover. He had eight picks and led the league with 32 passes defended. …”
Other Seahawks on Prisco’s list include an All-Pro free safety who just turned 24; a pair of Russells; an All-Pro running back; and a recently acquired receiver/runner/returner. Here’s where those players are ranked, as well as Prisco’s comment:
FS Earl Thomas (51) – “He is the centerfielder on a good defense, showing off both range and the ability to tackle. He is just now getting to his prime.”
QB Russell Wilson (82) – “Despite his size, he showed in his rookie season that he has what it takes to be a top-level quarterback. It’s early, but he gets it.”
LT Russell Okung (86) – “He is the anchor of the Seattle line, the guy who protects Russell Wilson’s backside. He is coming off his best season.”
RB Marshawn Lynch (87) – “He had 1,590 yards and averaged 5 yards per rush. He is a big reason why Seattle made the playoffs.”
WR/RB/KOR Percy Harvin (97) – “He is an explosive playmaker when he’s on the field. But he’s had trouble staying there and his per-catch average of 10.9 needs to be better.”
Prisco also has a Top 10 of players under 23, and Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is ranked No. 4. Says Prisco, “He finished seventh in the NFL in tackles playing in the middle on one of the best defenses in the league. He is a rangy linebacker who can also play the pass. He had three interceptions as a rookie.”
Marshawn Lynch prefers to let his actions speak for him.
And when you’ve rushed for 2,794 yards and scored 25 touchdowns the past two seasons, that’s a prolonged – not to mention productive – conversation.
Lynch generated discussions of a different kind on sports-talk radio last week by his absence when Phase 2 of the Seahawks’ voluntary offseason program began. But he’s back, and his teammates let him hear it when Lynch arrived midway through Monday’s on-field session.
“Guys are going to raze him a little bit,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said after today’s workout. He then smiled before adding, “When you make a grand entrance like that, they’re going to raze you.”
But today Lynch was back where he belongs, and the team needs him: In the backfield, carrying and catching the ball. In an early drill, Lynch came out of his stance, juked around a trashcan and took a short pass from backup QB Brady Quinn. Later, Lynch took a handoff from QB Russell Wilson and darted between All-Pro center Max Unger and guard John Moffitt.
The All-Pro back punctuated each maneuver with a smile.
“He just jumped right back in there, didn’t miss a beat,” Bevell said. “It’s great to have him out there. It kind of lifts morale. Guys love to see him. He’s a great player and competitor for us, so it’s always good to have him out there.”
It is May 4th and as appropriate on this day, dare we say … May the 4th be with you! To spell it out for the percentage of us born after the rest of us discovered (for the second time) that Anakin Skywalker was, in fact (SPOILER ALERT), Darth Vader, this phrase is a play on words to the Jedi credo (not to be confused with Greedo – RIP): “May the force be with you” as made popular by the Star Wars films.
That all being said, Happy Star Wars Day, 12s!
Don’t believe that this is a galaxy-wide holiday for most of us (except for maybe the Empire as evidenced in this attack ad)? Find out more information at the official website of Star Wars Day: http://maythe4th.starwars.com
If it isn’t already obvious, we here at Seahawks.com are Red Bryant-sized fans of all five episodes (we’re still trying to erase the memory of that Binks character from Episode I). And we’re not alone in our nerdom…
And then there’s this photo essay from NFL.com likening NFL players to Star Wars characters …
So, in the spirit of this galactic holiday, we created the graphic at the top of this page to help 12s celebrate with us on Instagram. But like the elder Skywalker, (and apparently the NFL) once we started down this dark path we simply couldn’t help ourselves …
How many of these 12 references can you guess? Perfect 12 equals Jedi Master:
To end as all episodes end…
The Seahawks already have one player in the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players for 2013 and they’re about to get another.
Players No. 90 through No. 81 will be profiled Thursday in the weekly series, which starts at 5 p.m. PT. We know who that player is and where he’s ranked, we just can’t say. But make sure you tune in early to see who it is.
Among the candidates: All-Pro and Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas, All-Pro and Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, recently acquired receiver/runner/returner Percy Harvin, Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung and Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson.
All-Pro and Pro Bowl center Max Unger? He was at No. 95 when the series kicked off Saturday following the conclusion of the NFL Draft.
Unger was the Seahawks’ second-round draft choice in 2009. He started at right guard that season, becoming the first rookie lineman to start all 16 games for the Seahawks since Ray Roberts in 1992. Unger was back at right guard in 2010, but he got a season-ending toe injury in the opener. He moved to center – the position he had played at the University of Oregon – in 2011 with the arrival of line coach Tom Cable and has only gotten better by the snap.
“I knew Max when he came out of college,” said Cable, who was with the Raiders at the time. “I thought he would be a fine, fine center when he got to this level. … So we put him there from Day One and his development has been second to none on this team.”